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This new tortoise species discovered in the Pacific is just magnificent. Here's why!

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 6:37 IST

A new species of tortoise has been discovered. This gigantic reptile may seem weird to some and fascinating to others. But its discovery would have definitely delighted Charles Darwin, who studied these shelled creatures very closely.

Scientists say they have identified about 250 giant tortoises on the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific - that are distinct from another tortoise species on Santa Cruz island.

The archipelago is reportedly home to other gigantic species of tortoise. However, the newly-identified species, which lives in a 40-square-km area of Santa Cruz Island, is so genetically different that they could be mistaken for tortoises from other islands.

Interesting facts on Galapagos giant tortoise.

Here's what you need to know about these big fellows:

  • Yale University biologist Gisella Caccione, who led the team of scientists, said the shell of the tortoises had a more compressed shape than other species.
  • This is the 15th known tortoise species to be discovered on the archipelago, though four are now extinct.
  • The magnificent creature has been named Chelonoidis donfaustoi, after a retired Galapagos park ranger.
  • Giant tortoises in the Galapagos tend to weigh up to 250kg and live longer than 100 years.
  • The discovery of this animal will reportedly help to protect and restore the tortoise, which is considered a vulnerable species, with an estimated population of 250.
  • There are believed to be more than 2,000 other tortoise species living elsewhere on the island.
  • Giant tortoises were among some of the well-known creatures studied closely by British naturalist Charles Darwin in the Galapagos Islands in the 1830s.
First published: 23 October 2015, 1:54 IST